Commercial galleries Market United Kingdom

Mayfair and St James galleries launch weekend of special events this summer

The art hub’s dealers hope to draw the public’s attention at a critical time

The London neighbourhoods of Mayfair and St James are organising their first ever weekend art event with the aim of raising public awareness at a critical time for the West End gallery hub. The initiative is due to launch 5-6 July and include more than 75 exhibitions of art, ranging from antiquities to contemporary work, and over 100 free talks and tours.

The idea for the collaborative event came out of a series of weekly meetings held by a group of around 30 dealers to discuss the pressures of rising rents and encroaching developments projects. After a series of successful Saturday Art Tours, where dealers led focused tours of their galleries, they decided to join in London Art Week (4-11 July), which also includes Master Paintings Week and Master Drawings & Sculpture Week and related Old Master auctions at Sotheby’s, Christie’s, and Bonham’s.

The event is sponsored by Brown’s Hotel (which also sponsored the Saturday Art Tours), and is organised by the dealer John Martin, whose gallery is on Albemarle Street, and Johnny Messum, whose gallery is in Cork Street. Martin says the dealers are trying to follow the “positive step” of the Westminister council, which proposed establishing a special policy area last December to protect the art trade in Mayfair (the measure has already passed for St James, see related article above). He adds that the art weekend is meant to demonstrate the contribution the galleries make to the local community’s culture and “to show the amount of people galleries bring in”.

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